How Does the Black Soldier Fly Digest So Many Types of Wastes? Is the Future Going to be, 'The Terminator' Producing Protein and Fertilizer?
Figuring out how Nature operates, replicating the process, and industrializing has been a 'holy grail' of humanity since the beginning of time for a multitude of topics. For example, and the first thing I thought of, 'lightening strikes the ground' and fire is produced- so take a piece of flint, strike a rock, get sparks and fire can be produced. Better yet- if it can be recreated- can we then use it as a model to better understand the process and enhance it (thinking lightening creating fire evolving to harnessing atoms to produce heat).
The same is being done with the black soldier fly. Somehow, the larvae of this insect can digest a host of organic materials and produce waste that can be used as fertilizer and larval mass that can be used as feed. Can this system be replicated in a lab? Can such data result in a better understanding of the processes that allows for this insect to digest a plethora of wastes?
Gold et al. (2020) is the first step in this direction. The results are mixed but definitely serve as a starting point for industrialization of this process in the case of Gold et al. (2020)- with the black soldier fly.
Gold, M., J. Egger, A. Scheidegger, C. Zurbrügg, D. Bruno, M. Bonelli, G. Tettamanti, M. Casartelli, E. Schmitt, B. Kerkaert, J. D. Smet, L. V. Campenhout, and A. Mathys. 2020. Estimating black soldier fly larvae biowaste conversion performance by simulation of midgut digestion. Waste Management 112: 40-51.
But, I leave you with this question (for fun):
Can the ability of the black soldier fly be replicated in the lab and industrialized?
Imagine- giant industrialized mechanical insect guts (think "Terminator" eating waste and pooping out fertilizer and protein being harvested from a secondary evacuation hole or better yet- Alien doing the same, 36 second mark of video) recycling organic waste and producing insect protein and fertilizer!
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Black Lives Matter!
Individuals with over 25 years research experience with the black soldier fly. We are passionate about the science behind the black soldier fly and its ability to convert waste to protein.
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